Monday, January 25, 2010

On The Subject of Baking Bread.....

Back by popular demand.....

"Fresh Bread Apron"
I made a couple aprons trimmed with
vintage bread basket doilies in the past
and they were very popular.
The trouble is, these crocheted pieces are hard to find.
Recently I came upon two in a local antique market.

They make great adornments for apron pockets...
along with vintage crocheted lace and vintage buttons.
This little apron
is for sale.

It has a flat front, and long ties so one size fits all.

Contact me if you would like this apron.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

More Adventures in Breadmaking

I am happy to announce that I have not bought a loaf of bread since before the beginning of the new year. I hope to be able to say this come December 31st, 2010!
I have been baking bread every 3 to 4 days.
This weekend I also tried English Muffins...they were a winner!
One of our favorite breads is Cinnamon Raisin Walnut makes a delicious breakfast bread (which is about the only time that we eat it....that and Hubbs has it for an evening snack)
I thought I would share the recipe with is definitely yummy!!

Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Bread
(recipe from Peter Reinhart's "The Bread Baker's Apprentice)

2 1/2 Cups bread flour (I use King Arthur's Organic Bread Flour)
1 Cup whole wheat flour (I use King Arthur's Organic Whole Wheat Flour)
4 tsp. sugar
1 1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. instant yeast (I use SAF instant yeast....from King Arthur's catalog/website)
1 1/4 tsp. cinnamon ( I am a little more generous with the cinnamon)
1 large egg, slightly beaten
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup milk (at room temp.)
3/4 cup water (at room temp.)
1 1/2 cups raisins (I use organic)
1 cup chopped walnuts

Stir together the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, then add yeast and stir. Add egg, butter, milk and water. Mix well. I use my Kitchenaid mixer with the dough paddle to mix.
Then I switch to the dough hook to begin kneading. It is at this point that I add the raisins and nuts. Continue to knead with mixer for a couple of minutes.

Then transfer dough to a floured surface to finish kneading for a total of 10 minutes kneading.
Place dough in a slightly greased bowl to rise....cover bowl with a kitchen towel and allow to rise at room temperature until dough is double in size (about 2 hours).
Transfer dough to floured surface and press into a rectangular shape.

Sprinkle with a mixture of sugar and cinnamon and then roll dough into a log. Tuck ends under and place in greased 2 lb. bread pan. Cover with plastic wrap.
Allow to rise so that loaf fills pans to all four sides and top is adequately risen above the level of the pan.

Uncover and use a pastry brush to apply an egg wash to the surface of the loaf (I use a beaten egg for the egg wash)

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. (I throw 1/4 cup of water into the bottom of my oven to make steam for the first part of baking.) Then rotate pan 90 degrees and continue to bake for another 15 to 20 minutes. Bread should be nicely browned. Remove from oven, remove from pan and allow to cool on a rack until room temperature.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Altered Box

Sometimes the wrapping

is as important as the gift.

I love to have the time to make a gift

truly making the wrapping

part of the gift.

This altered box holds a couple of

tiny birthday gifts for a special friend.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I Love Chocolate

Nothing says Love to me better than chocolate!

Chocolate cake, chocolate pie, chocolate cookies

Yummy, gooey chocolate!

Ahhhhhh, I'm in love......

February is Chocolate Month.

I suppose that has something to do with Valentine's Day

and giving chocolates to the one you love.

With that in mind, I found this fabric amongst my stash

and decided to make an apron with a French flair.
Even the seams are French seams!
J'aime le chocolat.
I love chocolate!

This apron is for sale.

I have not moved it over to my apron website.
So, if you are interested in purchasing this delicious little apron,

please contact me!

The selling price is 29.99.

SOLD!! YAY....Happy Dance!!!

Monday, January 18, 2010


Old to new.

Trash to treasure.

Recyle, repurpose, re-use.....

I love when I can find just the perfect item...

without having to purchase something newly made!
I came across this piece last week at our local antique market.

It was made from an old door, an old dresser mirror,
a blanket chest and the legs from some unknown piece.

I just love it!

I works perfectly in my shabby guest room.

And the best part of it is....

The entire thing is recycled from old pieces

that would have ended up somewhere in a dump.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Back To The Beginning

It's hard to imagine

that all of this blogging started with aprons.....years ago.

At that time, I started my farm blog and my "life" blog...

which developed into a major apron-making era.

The blog continued....the aprons slacked off.

Just last week I had a request for an apron....

so, out came my trusty pattern (my own) and I got busy.

Here is the result.....
Nothing fancy....but quite serviceable.

Just right for a cowgirl...rustling up some stew!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Valentine Idea

How do I love thee?
Let me count the ways.....
Need a unique Valentine for that special someone?
How about transforming an old bottle
into a Valentine Vessel....
Dressed up with bits of ephemera, ribbon,
jewels, glitter...whatever you have on hand.
Be creative....decorate your vessel in whatever way makes your heart sing.
When it is finished you have the perfect Valentine Vessel....
Into which you can place your favorite love poem,
or perhaps a love letter,
or a list of all the things you love about your sweetheart.
Or perhaps a gift certificate for a romantic dinner at a quiet little bistro.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Dress Form Makeover

Previously, you met Hennrietta Butterfield, my Victorian dress form.
She is usually always dressed in her crinolines.
Every time that I look at her,
it seems she has added another vintage cluster earring
to her bodice! She just loves vintage jewelry!
I have another gal who keeps
me company in my sewing room.
She is a less expensive, more modern version who came to me
looking like this.

This weekend I decided to give her a makeover.
Striving for a more vintage-eclectic look,
I enlisted the help of my rubber stamps,
grungy inks, strong coffee, vintage jewelry,
and vintage ribbon and lace scraps.
Charlottes Crown

Here is the end result (for now)....

I am happy to introduce
the Lady Charlotte Willoughby
(you needn't curtsey, she is only a cousin to royalty)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Winter White

The Christmas decor is safely stored for next year.
This week I returned our girly guest room back
to its original state.
I decided, however, that a few things needed
to be rearranged.
I moved the antique doll house to a table in the back corner.
This left an open space on the antique treadle machine
in front of the bay window.
A winter white display seemed appropriate for this time of year.

Vintage baby booties tied up with white ribbon....
A white custard cup of white vintage buttons....
An old doily and a pearl and rhinestone clip earring help to make
this candle fit better into the old iron candlestick.
Here are a couple more vignettes around the room...
I love the use of vintage jewelry and crocheted doilies to gussy things up a bit.
Thanks so much for visiting today....I hope to see more of you in 2010!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A Warm Homey Glow

I love things with warm homey glows.
I love lamps that are made from something unexpected.
You already know that I love old cast iron kitchen tools....especially grinders.
Today I found all of these things wrapped up in one!
I took a little time to get away from the farm for a couple of hours.
I went to a nearby town to peruse an antique market....and this is what I found.

While decorating for Christmas,
I stuck this little candle lamp in my old coffee grinder.
I surrounded the light with greens and a couple of pinecones.
I think I will keep this as a light....for now.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Fly If You Are Able

I have to tell you, I have met amazing women here in Blogland.

I am so awestruck and inspired by the wonderfully creative blogs out there. They are an inspiration to me daily. There are women who create through so many different, photography, fabric and fiber arts, writing, mixed name it, and some fabulous woman is doing it....and doing it well. I have visited blogs that make me cry, make me laugh, lift me up and inspire me.

It is almost intimidating when I see this wealth of creativity. Oh, how I long to create something beautiful and timeless and inspiring. Alas, though, I have come to the conclusion that my own talents lean towards the technical. For example, I can cook, I can sew....I can do just about anything that a person can "learn" to do. What I long for, though, is the type of creativity that springs forth from a person's soul. The type of gift that gives a person the imagination to think of something that no one has ever before it music, art, writing....something completely unique and original.

To me, these types of persons are born with wings and the innate ability to fly....nothing that needed to be learned....they have the gift of lofty, weightless creativity....soaring above the rest of us.
Then there are those of us who have both feet on the ground....we are firmly rooted.... we grow, we learn, we try...but we never fly. What we can do, though, is dance. We can run with wild abandon and dance our way through life...taking each step that we have studied and mimicked and then create our own type of of which are recognizable, gained from the visions of others, but the whole of which is our own. We weave these ideas together until we create something that speaks to us, something that reflects our own souls, something that makes us dance with delight.
These thoughts were my inspiration for this project... I found some yummy graphics on the Graphics Fairy Blog which I used along with lots of embellishment (and glitter) to decorate an old metal CD case. I call this "Fly if you are able....Dance if you are not"
So, if you, like me, were not blessed with wings, don't despair. Just take pieces of all that beautiful inspiration out there and create something...something that reflects the beauty in your soul. Dance.....with wild abandon! (and use lots of glitter!)
PS: If you are tempted to blog, but feel that you have nothing to offer, think again. We all have gifts, talents that should be shared with others. A friend from blogland said to me "all I do is go to work and come home". I would say back to her...don't sell yourself short. Push yourself. Express yourself. Everyone has something worth sharing. We are out here waiting for you to join us.
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